A Lethal Journey

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Sofia Parker needs a summer break as badly as her children and husband, and they find a wonderful diversion at a cabin on Lake Champlain. Joined by Sofia's Pinot Painter friends, Julie Butler and Marla Dixon, Sofia is reveling in the two-week vacation, until apparent tragedy strikes. 

Julie's kid brother Ian shows up at the Butler cabin for a surprise visit, but then goes missing the next morning. With his clothes found on the dock, the group fears he may have gone for a swim alone during the night and then drowned. 

But that working theory quickly is undermined by the appearance of seedy characters in search of Ian and his personal effects. Has he been kidnapped, or possibly even worse? Local authorities seem to think not, so it is up to Sofia and company to get to the bottom of the case. 

Concurrently, Sofia is wrestling with the twelfth block of the heirloom quilt bequeathed to her by her beloved grandmother. The journal that accompanied the quilt indicates that Aria Greco, an aspiring screenwriter who was a passenger on the ill-fated maiden voyage of the Titanic in 1912, donated the square of stained silk. 
How did the swatch get from the Titanic to Nonna's quilt? Sofia isn't sure, but she knows she must discover the secret behind this last piece of the ancient quilt. 

At the same time the mystery in the history is playing out, the modern-day whodunit surrounding the ominous disappearance of Ian is pressing the Parker, Butler, and Dixon families into more desperate measures. But will the answers they seek be found, much like the Titanic, in the deadly maw of the deep? 

The Characters

Sofia Parker is a stay-at-home mom with four children. She loves to paint and she really enjoys baking confectionery masterpieces on the side. One day she hopes to combine these two talents into a business of her own. But she lacks confidence, often feeling overshadowed by her two older sisters and father -- all three hold advanced degrees in the sciences.

But as Sofia loses herself in researching the compelling stories of her ancestors -- other female guardians of the same heirloom quilt -- she begins to feel a connection with her roots ... and is filled with a whole new confidence in her personal identity and creative potential.

Jim Parker, Sofia's husband, is 42, tall, lean and has thick blond hair and blue eyes. He is a math teacher at Cabot Falls High School. He is also a kind man who loves his family and is supportive of Sofia's desire to use her creative talents and open her own business.

Elena is Sofia's late grandmother. Because Sofia's mother died when she was little, Elena was very much the maternal figure in the lives of her grandchildren. Elena surprised everyone by bequeathing the priceless heirloom trunk and quilt to Sofia. But Nonna never did anything without a reason. What old secrets did she hope Sofia would uncover?

Caterina Vasari, 17, and her mother, Vedette, are seamstresses known for their fine smocking, embroidery and beadwork. Caterina is also an aspiring artist. They live together in a house on the village square of Ponte San Vincenti just outside of Florence.

Caterina tries to bear the brunt of the intricate stitching work because her mother has advanced rheumatism. They need both of their incomes to survive, and they especially need the income from the two gowns they have been commissioned to create for Lisabetta, the daughter of the esteemed Donati family.

Caterina is secretly in love with an apprentice winemaker at the Donati's family vineyard and hopes one day to marry him.

Caterina is a direct ancestor of Sofia.

Lisabetta is 16, well-bred, strikingly gorgeous ... and miserable, because her father is forcing her to marry a repulsive nobleman. Her true love is the handsome Gianni Medici ... and Lisabetta wishes she had the courage to defy her Father.

Bertrando is Lisabetta's fiance. He's cruel, foul and more than twice her age. But he is also wealthy. Lisabetta's father is selling her into this marriage solely to shore up the family's dwindling finances.

Handsome and young, Gianni is the secret true love of Lisabetta Donati. He says he will do anything to be with her ... but does that include murder?